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Appalachian Mountain Club

Appalachian Mountain Club. In 1989 the Appalachian Mountain Club continued to maintain over 1,000 miles of hiking trails in the northeastern U.S., dozens of back-country campsites and shelters, and various public workshops in hiking leadership and group safety. The club has eight huts strategically spaced a day’s hike apart along the ridges of the White Mountains. The center for its mountain activities is Pinkham Notch Camp at the foot of Mount Washington. The Appalachian Mountain Club, founded in 1876, is the oldest club of its kind in the U.S. Membership is close to 37,000. The principal administrative office is at 5 Joy St., Boston, MA, which also houses one of the oldest mountaineering libraries in the country. Twelve chapters of the club are spread from Maine to Washington, D.C.

The highlight for the A.M.C. hut system in 1989 was the addition of three new structures at Camp Dodge in New Hampshire. The bunkhouses were erected with the assistance of a local Army Reserve Unit. They will house volunteers involved in trail and conservation work in the White Mountains. Greenleaf Hut was renovated to increase capacity in order to serve the growing population of hikers along the Appalachian Trail and in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire.

At the chapter level volunteers organized thousands of activities throughout the year, including rock climbing and mountaineering, day hiking and instruction in ice climbing and other technical sports. Other trips included flat and whitewater canoeing, sea kayaking, cross-country and downhill skiing, and even board sailing. Programs of instruction and conservation were also offered through the chapter committees.

The Education Department continued its program in instruction and conservation. The Mountain Leadership School, a week-long course offered each summer to train leaders in outdoor survival skills, is 31 years old this year. The Boston-based A.M.C. Youth Opportunities Program, offering wilderness and outdoor survival and camping skills to leaders of youth from urban areas, is continuing to reach out to surrounding communities.

The Excursions Committee conducted a variety of local outings and extended excursions, both domestic and foreign. Members participated in over 40 excursions throughout the year from birding in Trinidad and hiking in Patagonia to hut-to-hut skiing in Norway.

Each year the Trails Program participates in maintaining and establishing trail systems to accommodate the increasing number of people who want to enjoy natural areas, and simultaneously to regulate the impact on fragile environments. In 1989 A.M.C. Trails Service trips went to many areas, among them Alaska’s Kenai National Park and Virgin Islands National Park. Over the summer a group of Soviet citizens joined A.M.C. volunteers in a conservation and trail management exchange. The International Committee is arranging more service project exchange trips with foreign groups with similar interests for next year.

Barbara Steffins